Skip to main content

Thomas Friedman on Green Technology

thomas-friedman-environmental-technologySome interesting testimony from Thomas Friedman in his appearance earlier today before the Senate committee on Environment and Public Works. The hearing was titled, "Investing in Green Technology as a Strategy for Economic Recovery."
Think about the scale. I give just one example. Nate Lewis of Cal Tech uses this number. We currently, the world currently uses about 13 terawatts, 13 trillion watts of energy. Between now and 2050 we’re going to double that to 26 terawatts, 26 trillion watts. If we want to go from 13 to 26 [terawatts] as a world, accommodate the growth of China and India, and not double the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere – which is the red line from pre-industrial period, which is the red line beyond which climate scientists believe all the climate monsters will come out of the closet—if we want to do that, we basically, we have to take 13 terawatts and get rid of them, through energy efficiency. And of the new 13 terawatts, we need to produce 80% of that from clean, non-emitting sources. If we said, let’s just do that by building nuclear plants, we would have to build one new nuclear plant every day for the next 36 years.
Sounds like investing in green technology as a strategy for economic recovery to me.

Comments

Kit P said…
The only thing you can learn from reading a NYT journalist is what their agenda is. How this qualifies one as one of “Two experts, including Thomas Friedman..” to testify on the topic before congress is beyond me.
Anonymous said…
So how many wind farms would be have to build every day to make up the 13 TW demand? How many millions of square miles would we have to cover with windmills to generate this much energy from an intermittent, unreliable source? How many more Ted Kennedys will come crawling out of the woodwork to protest against the cluttered view those would make?

If it's that tough to do with baseload nuclear units, how much more impossible will it be using chaotic, variable "green" sources like wind and solar?

Popular posts from this blog

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.

Huh?

The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…

Why Nuclear Plant Closures Are a Crisis for Small Town USA

Nuclear plants occupy an unusual spot in the towns where they operate: integral but so much in the background that they may seem almost invisible. But when they close, it can be like the earth shifting underfoot.

Lohud.com, the Gannett newspaper that covers the Lower Hudson Valley in New York, took a look around at the experience of towns where reactors have closed, because the Indian Point reactors in Buchanan are scheduled to be shut down under an agreement with Gov. Mario Cuomo.


From sea to shining sea, it was dismal. It wasn’t just the plant employees who were hurt. The losses of hundreds of jobs, tens of millions of dollars in payrolls and millions in property taxes depressed whole towns and surrounding areas. For example:

Vernon, Vermont, home to Vermont Yankee for more than 40 years, had to cut its municipal budget in half. The town closed its police department and let the county take over; the youth sports teams lost their volunteer coaches, and Vernon Elementary School lost th…